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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Fondue for Your Valentine

It's been said that fondue originated in the 18th century in Switzerland as a way to feed hungry families during the winter when fresh foods were scarce. Aged cheese became delicious when heated with wine and herbs, and stale bread would soften when dipped. This method of having a communal pot for dipping, took until the 1960's to become popular in the United States but grew to become more than just cheese fondues.

Common cheeses found in cheese fondues are a blend of Switzerland cheeses, such as gruyere and emmenthaler. Of course, cheese adds fat so using a reduced-fat variety will yield a healthier fondue. The acid in wine or beer helps to break up the stringiness of the cheese, but buttermilk will also do the job. Cornstarch is a traditional thickener but bean puree can thicken while also adding protein and fiber to the mix! This appetizer is great way to get in an assortment of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower or potato.

Fondue Bourguignon is the entrée and generally refers to raw meat cooked in hot oil. Pieces of chicken, beef, or other meat are plated raw and left for you to cook yourself, dipping them in hot oil, broth or even wine. They are typically accompanied by a dipping sauce.

Chocolate fondue is the third fondue dish to come to the table. There's no need to describe the deliciousness that comes from pieces of cake or fresh fruit dipped in warm melted chocolate! Treat your Valentine to a fondue meal this Valentine's Day and you'll be sure to capture their heart!

*Special thanks to Carolyn Hanson for letting me borrow her beautiful fondue pot!

Cheesy Fondue Printable PDF

1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium white beans (great northern, cannellini, or navy), rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups non-fat buttermilk, divided

2 cups reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

Combine beans and ¼ cup buttermilk in a food processor and puree until very smooth, about 4 minutes. In a medium saucepan, bring bean puree and the remaining buttermilk to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer. Add the cheese, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted. Stir in the dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Transfer to a warm fondue pot or small slow cooker. Dip chunks of whole wheat bread, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli florets, etc.

Yield: 3 cups or 12 servings

Nutrition Facts per serving: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 180 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams protein

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